Mackenzie began taking biology classes and volunteering as a trip leader for Portland State University’s Outdoor Program as an undergrad. She found herself intrigued by the science and thrilled to be outside. Once she realized she could have a career that allowed her to do both, she was in, hook, line and sinker.
After a year at Inter-Fluve working on topographic and bathymetric surveying, habitat and geomorphic analyses, and restoration monitoring, she dove into her Masters in Fisheries Science at Oregon State University. Today, she’s half student–where she’s working on her thesis investigating the relationship between coho salmon spawning and the hydrological regimes of four small streams on the Oregon coast–and half Inter-Fluve fish biologist.
Her work at Inter-Fluve is highly interdisciplinary and variable. “Each project involves fitting the site-specific puzzle pieces together, like water velocity, habitat type, and fish species. My job involves shaping and fitting each of these pieces together to create habitat that meets the needs of the target fish,” Mackenzie says. She’s been involved with numerous projects including geomorphic assessments on Washington’s Upper Methow River and Middle Twisp River, construction oversight on the $4m River Island channel and floodplain restoration project on Oregon’s Clackamas River, and working with the Bureau of Reclamation to summarize 10+ years of research, enhancement and monitoring of Washington’s Methow River Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW).
Why fisheries? “At my core, I’m an ecologist. And fish are such an important part of the ecosystem, especially in the Pacific Northwest, that I can’t help but find them fascinating.”
“Each project involves fitting the site-specific puzzle pieces together, like water velocity, habitat type, and fish species. My job involves shaping and fitting each of these pieces together to create habitat that meets the needs of the target fish.”